Each fall in the islands, wine and fine cuisine aficionados await the much-anticipated Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival. This year, bubbles-loving guests are in for an extra special treat: Caviar & Krug Dégustation at Halekulani.
From 5-6 p.m. on the eve of September 3, 36 lucky bon vivants will indulge in two of France’s greatest treasures: caviar and champagne. To learn more about this affair’s French Sturgeon delicacies and vintage Krugs, we sat down with Vikram Garg, Halekulani’s award-winning executive chef, best known for exhibiting his culinary wizardry at La Mer, Hawai‘i’s only five-star restaurant.
Q. What item are you most looking forward to showcasing that evening?
From the pristine aquifers of Aquitaine, France, Sturia Caviar represents a shining jewel of one of our greatest culinary treasures: fine caviar.
Q. What can guests expect to see and taste at the Caviar & Krug Dégustation?
With the four specialty caviars from Sturia, we’ll be able to examine and note the subtle differences in quality. Much as in a fine wine, [we’ll] note of its appearance from color, sheen and uniformity, the pristine aroma and flavors … [and] the savory balance of salinity to intensify. We will take note of the different textures—which every true aficionado knows is a marker for quality and freshness.
And of course, Krug: one of my favorite champagnes in the world.
To share the experience, we’ve brought together a panel of chefs, a French caviar importer and a sommelier, to converse [with guests] about caviar and champagne.
Q. What other foods do you like to pair with caviar and champagne?
I prefer caviar in its pure form; a good caviar is self-sufficient. In cooking, it sublimes the dishes by introducing a subtle iodized note. I enjoy it on soft scrambled egg, a medallion of poached lobster or on warm buttered toast.
Champagne is very versatile and has the purity and richness to enhance a multitude of flavor combinations. The applications are endless, but the two together (C&C) are notorious.
Q. Who are you excited to meet at this year’s Festival?
The first thought that crossed my mind was the mirror. [laughs]
Every year, HF&W brings a field of exceptional talents to Hawai‘i. From new faces to old friends, our love of cooking and the camaraderie to benefit an outstanding cause is excitement enough. We share ideas, experiences and form unbreakable bonds of friendship. Can I get back to you after the Festival?
Q. What other events are you looking forward to at the HF&W 2014?
“Corks & Forks.” I love the name, but don’t say it too fast. I’m looking forward to 20 world-renown celebrity chefs and 20 of Napa Valley’s greatest wine estates to be pouring their flagship wine. What a treat! I will need to cab back home after that.
Q. Who or what inspires your cuisine?
The feel of the place, people and products around me.
Dreaming of C&C, anyone?
To indulge in this, or another one of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s events, visit www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com.